Journey Part 2
By Leonard Turton
If you’re working or thinking of working in Free School Democratic Education I suggest you track your journey to it; analyse it. Who are you? Why are you doing what you do? What demons or cheering angels might have to be faced?
Here is my Journey. What’s yours?
Part 2: Necking
Now you might think I would become a trouble maker. I did not. I knew I was trapped by the empire, and I soon saw the few honestly defiant Spartacus-like kids get squashed in very nasty ways. Luckily, learning came easy to me and school didn’t hurt my self-esteem since my parents made my brother and I believe that we were better than any other kids in the universe; without spoiling us by the way. Mom and dad just made us self- assured. I recommend that.
What I did do, though, was develop a great deal of respect for the kids who did rebel, even though I knew their struggle was hopeless. So, I befriended them. I could do this because by the age of ten I had crafted a wicked, sarcastic wit that reserved me a place with the tough guys. My particular friend was John Harris, who lived in a rich neighbourhood and in a very big house.
And John had a girlfriend named Nancy who he was convinced would be a great kisser and I soon liked a girl named Laurel. She had luminous alabaster skin, an angel’s face and a halo that glowed around her soft blond hair. John let it be known to Laurel that I was a terrific guy and since he was the school’s Johnny Depp soon, wonder of wonders, Laurel loved me. It wasn’t long before I regularly visited her house and we played ‘ice’ hockey in the basement. She dressed as a goal keeper and she gave me a hockey stick and I fired a tennis ball at her. She was a great goalie. I was deeply impressed. An ace, ice-hockey Madonna. After our basement sessions we would go up to the kitchen and her mom would give us a drink and cookies. It was very romantic. I’m serious about that. I think you can tell.
But then I slipped up.
During the last two weeks of school John and Nancy and Laurel and I came around to planning a BIG EVENT. On the final day before the summer holiday, at the ring of the last school bell, the four of us decided we would walk to the far, very private, back of the school field; behind the wire baseball screen. And have a NECKING SESSION.
Now there was no social media but this was a social media event. The two rooms of grade five students were hot abuzz at what was going to take place. Being rather naive, John ordered nobody to follow us or watch.
And so, on that wonder of a day, the bell did ring and the four of us did walk alone, way out of range of everyone, holding hands and feeling a bit liquidy, to the appointed spot. John began. And he did an amazing thing. He swept Nancy back in an old fashioned embrace and placed the big one right on her … open lips ! Not to be outdone I did the same. After that Laurel and I went into a trance and in a gentle embrace just kept on kissing. I remember thinking, ” This is very … pleasant. I like doing this. She feels great in my arms.” In other words, I was totally blissed out. Oblivious.
Behind the baseball diamond around the perimeter of the school field was a link fence. And behind the fence was a field of grape vines. And in those vines about a dozen students were hiding. We had an audience! Finally, at some point they could no longer contain themselves. I don’t know what John and Nancy did but Laurel unclenched in horror and ran. I followed her and we jumped on our bikes in confusion and rode away as fast as we could. Of course some of the kids followed us and made the whole ride a right misery. Laurel disappeared down her driveway. I knew better than to follow.
In the holidays, we met a few times for hockey and sat in her backyard on some swings and talked eleven-year old. I always remember feeling absolutely comfortable. More comfortable than from anything else I’d ever experienced. We never mentioned the baseball diamond caper and never kissed again until in the middle of the summer when she suddenly told me her family was moving to another city in two weeks. She looked at me, came close, kissed me and ran into her house. I didn’t have the courage to go back. The emptiness I felt was too much of a horror.
The next September, in grade six, I was moved to a different classroom … Far away from Johnny Depp and his wonderful delinquent friends. The teacher said to me, ” We moved you away from those boys because you are not that kind of person” I thought, ” You fucking asshole bitch. ” and kept my loyalty to those students right up till the end of high school. I knew they had life, they had class, they had courage. And I knew they were mistreated, labelled, and crushed by the system. By the rats.
Leonard’s Journey will be Continued …
See Part 1 on the Blog